Frontier Airlines pilot buys pizza for stranded passengers on flight

A Frontier Airlines pilot helped take some of the sting out of an hours-long delay by ordering pizza for every passenger on his plane Monday evening.

The saga of Frontier Airlines Flight 719 began at around 7:40 p.m. Eastern Time Monday when the plane left Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, bound for Denver one hour behind schedule.

Bad weather in the Denver area forced the plane to circle over western Nebraska before low fuel levels forced it to land at Cheyenne Regional Airport in southeastern Wyoming. At that point, with 160 hungry passengers becoming increasingly agitated inside the hot plane, the pilot, whose name has not been released, took command of the situation.

"He said 'Ladies and gentleman, Frontier Airlines is known for being one of the cheapest airlines in the US, but your captain is not cheap,' passenger Logan Marie Torres told KDVR. "'I just ordered pizza for the entire plane.'"

Cheyenne Domino's Pizza manager Andrew Ritchie told The Associated Press that he got a call from the plane at about 10 p.m. local time Monday, just as he was about to send employees home. Ritchie said the pilot told him he needed to feed 160 people -- fast.

"I put my hand over the phone and I said: `Guys, you're coming back,' " Ritchie said, recalling what he told his employees.

In all, Ritchie said his crew made about 35 pizzas and delivered them to the airport, where the driver handed the food off to flight attendants. That number of pizzas is usually what the store handles in an entire hour. This time, Ritchie's employees needed to make them and deliver them in about 30 minutes.

But that didn't deter his co-workers, Ritchie said.

"Actually, they were super excited. They had a blast. It was a challenge," he said. "It was definitely one of those `challenge accepted' moments in time."

Flight 719 left Cheyenne at approximately 10:30 p.m. local time, soon after the special delivery. It arrived at Denver International Airport just after midnight, nearly five hours after its scheduled landing.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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